Several years ago playing chess online became my hobby and soon I was spending at least 4-5 hours playing chess online against other people. There was a guy from India who would beat me practically every time I played with him. I was so pissed off that I resorted to cheating and it worked. The idea was simple and brilliant.

Chessmaster has been my favorite chess program from its early versions. I always have it in my computer and I decided that our Indian “grandmaster” would meet against his electronic counterpart. My play was “improved” instantly. Finally, the guy was brought to such a terrible condition that I had to admit the cheat and beg my pardon.

It turns out that the same thing happens in online poker rooms and poker sites are invaded by poker bots. Increasingly more people are reporting their suspicions about playing with bots. The New York Times reports a pretty interesting story of Bryan Taylor, who caught the poker bot.

To admit, poker bots are not new. They have been around since very early days of online poker. However, average poker players could always beat even the best poker bots. In chess, bots have a chance to permanently win humans and the Deep Blue’s winning over Garry Kasparov is a clear indication of this. Of course even the greatest chess bots win mostly by brute force rather than artificial intelligence. This is partly a good explanation why Poker bots are so weak. In poker there is a moment of chance and the human factor. If you know that you are playing against a bot, you practically know the bots strategy – to play the “mathematically” correct poker – and you can easily win the bot.

Nevertheless, against weaker human poker players bots have all chances to win and win practically always. If you look at the amounts confiscated from accounts using bots it’s a clear indication that poker bots have proliferated on the Internet.

Of all poker bots, Shanky Technologies’ poker bot is probably the best one. The figures speak loudly. The company has sold more than 5,000 copies of the bot software since 2008 at the price tag of $129 per year. Full Tilt has seized more than $50,000 of players’ money – all supposedly using Shanky Technologies’ bot and currently Full Tilt poker is forgoing at least $70,000 per month in revenue by shutting down accounts using Shanky Technologies’ bot. The same situation is with other popular poker sites.

As I said, good players must not be afraid of bots but if we take into consideration how quickly poker bots advance and become more and more difficult to beat, it might not be that far when the poker bots dominate in online poker rooms.

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